Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship 

To address the lack of rural-focused training within undergraduate medical programs, the Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship program informs medical students about the tremendous opportunities, diversity and joys of working in rural family practice and rural specialty practice. 

Our Achievements

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Fostered mentorship relationships with medical students

The Mentorship project continued building relationships with medical students and educating them about the benefits and opportunities of rural practice. To achieve this, we held four evening sessions with medical studentstwo in-person, when pandemic restrictions allowed, and two virtually. Each session consisted of a presentation on a universally-relevant topic, followed by a question and answer session. These sessions helped build mentorship-style relationships with medical students and, in time, are expected to improve rural physician recruitment and retention.  

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Built connections between rural practitioners and medical sites

Our team liaised with, and gave a presentation to, the Family Medicine Interest Group at the Vancouver Fraser Medical Program site about the unique benefits and opportunities of rural practice. We connected the Family Medicine Interest Group with rural specialists for an evening information session that it held. Building a strong relationship with the Family Medicine Interest Group improves uptake of rural practice in British Columbia.  

Making a Difference

Developing mentorship relationships with medical students is key to attracting them to rural medicine. And although it hasn’t been as easy to develop these relationships since the pandemic started, the Mentorship project still managed to attract about 25 medical students to each of its sessions.   

“Zoom fatigue is real,” says Dr. James Card, who leads the Rural Medicine Interest Longitudinal Mentorship. “But through our mix of virtual and in-person sessions, we were able to tell students about the many rewards and opportunities of living and practicing in rural, remote and Indigenous communities—and many students are now considering it.”  

This will only increase in the coming year as Dr. Card looks forward to returning to in-person monthly meetings during the academic portion of the medical student calendar (September through April)—and bringing in more guest speakers to inspire the students.  

With the success of these mentorship relationships—and with an eye to the future—Dr. Card is also exploring opportunities to transition some of the Mentorship project’s work to the Northern Interior Rural Division of Family Practice to sustain the project’s funding.  

“I’ve already involved administrative staff from the Division,” says Dr. Card, “and they have attended some of the sessions.” 

Team Members

Dr. James Card
Dr. James Card

Lead, Rural Medical Interest Group